Users told: be more demanding over choice of storage vendors

Customers are getting the wrong storage solutions because they aren’t demanding enough with storage vendors, the keynote speaker at last week’s StorageWorld Middle East event claimed.

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By  Caroline Denslow Published  June 5, 2005

Customers are getting the wrong storage solutions because they aren’t demanding enough with storage vendors, the keynote speaker at last week’s StorageWorld Middle East event claimed. Jon William Toigo, managing principal and chief executive officer, Toigo Partners International, urged end users to be more proactive with their storage choices and not be mandated by what vendors are offering, describing storage as “a rip-off”. “There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution. Different needs have different requirements. Vendors should fit to clients’ needs, not the other way around,” Toigo told attendees of the event. Standardisation is the biggest problem at present, according to Toigo. Since true storage standards have a commoditising impact, vendors often ignore it to obtain more market share, Toigo said. It is up to the customers to weed out the architecture from what he coined as the prevailing “marketecture”, or the general hype surrounding various storage technologies today. Communication among users is important and storage management should be in everyone’s main agenda, he added. In an exclusive interview with IT Weekly after his speech, Toigo expanded on his theme: “The reason why storage infrastructure is in such a terrible shape is because the end users let them get that way. They didn’t demand of the vendors exactly what they wanted. They did not compare notes with fellow end users so that they could all decide what products they are going to buy and which ones they weren’t.” Graham Porter, marketing manager, Sun Microsystems Middle East and North Africa, said Toigo’s claims are “a bit unjust” for the industry. “Obviously, he’s a consultant. He’s trying to be a bit controversial,” remarked Porter. “But if you look at what customers are doing for storage, they have some huge problems in storage. And those are not problems that vendors have created. That’s the problem caused by the business environment they are in,” added Porter. However, Fawaz Bassim, manager, technology and product development at Wataniya Telecom, agreed with Toigo that vendors do have a tendency to push their offerings. With limited resources, he claimed, he often finds it difficult to look for the best solution in the market. “Yes, we do agree with what he (Toigo) said,” Bassim said. “Often when you make a decision you look at how it’s going to integrate with existing systems… [but] we don’t have enough R&D facility to go check different platforms. That is a luxury.” There is a push-and-pull strategy happening in the market, according to Osman Tantawy, who, as procurement and logistics senior manager of Vodafone Egypt Telecommunications, has had his fair share of experiences with vendors. “For every supply, you have to have a demand. Yes, there is a push but sometimes also there is a pull. It depends,” Tantawy said.

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